This year’s Innovate New Mexico Technology Showcase was a big success with the highest turnout rate to date. The event took place on March 3rd at the Event Center at Sandia Golf Club and there were over 150 attendees comprised of local and national companies, investors, entrepreneurs, and local business and community leaders.
The event started off with welcoming remarks from Jon Clark, Deputy Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Economic Development Department and keynote remarks from Dr. Omar Hatamleh, Executive Director of the Space Studies Program at NASA International Space University and Chief Innovation Officer of Engineering at NASA Johnson Space Center.
During lunch there was a panel discussion with four leaders and CEOs of New Mexico start-up companies. The panel discussed some of the challenges and benefits they have faced while growing start-ups in New Mexico.
The discussion was moderated by Carlos Romero, Associate VP for Research at New Mexico Tech and panel participants included Brian Henderson, CEO of Next State Systems, LLC, Victor Hughes, Founder of Roar Echo, LLC, Mark Johnson, Executive Chairman & Co-Founder of Descartes Labs, and Erik Strobert, CEO of Perspective Components, Inc.
Some challenges for local start-ups continue to be available seed-stage funding and a trained, technical work force. However, in comparison to much bigger metropolitan areas, there is also much less competition.
Mark Johnson, Executive Chairman & Co-Founder of Descartes Labs commented, “We realized at some point our advantages – although people in the bay area are fishing in a very deep pond, there are a million fishing poles in that pond. Here we are looking at a much shallower pond, but we can get the best out of that.”
Panelists also praised the support of the local community and the state’s efforts to nurture the start-up ecosystem. Other advantages to businesses include NMSBA, grants provided by the state, tax credits and support from the technology-transfer programs at the state’s research institutions.
Twelve researchers and inventors from the University of New Mexico, the Air Force Research Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, Sandia National Labs, NASA-White Sands Test Facility and Johnson Space Center, and New Mexico State University pitched their technologies to industry representatives and investors.
Below is a summary of the technologies.
Nasa White Sands Missile Range – Joe Bullington, Jacobs Technology, Inc.
The White Sands Test Facility has been a center of technical excellence in the fields of high-pressure oxygen systems and materials and rocket propellant safety. Their core capabilities include testing and analysis of oxygen systems, hypervelocity impact, composite pressure systems, propellants and aerospace fluids, along with flight acceptance standard testing and spaceflight component services.
Argos-Artificial Gravity Offload System 7 Infrared Flash Thermography for Nondestructive Evaluation and Full-Size Reduced Gravity Simulator for Humans, Robots, and Test Objects – Steven González, NASA Johnson Space Center
This innovation in the techniques used for post-processing flash IR thermography data provides both efficient and cost-effective enhancements to Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) of structures. Compatible with commercial IR thermography products, this suite of tools provides both quantitative and qualitative data analysis capabilities and reliable detection and characterization of anomalies in composite structures.
The simulator technology, first developed to train astronauts to live and work in a weightless environment, provides a simulated reduced gravity environment that responds to human-imparted forces. This system attaches to a human subject in a gimbal and/or harness through a cable and then maintains a constant offload of a portion of the subject’s weight through the cable to simulate reduced gravity.
Non-Opioid Solution to the Opiod Crisis: scFv Immunotherapeutics for Pain Management- Karin Westlund High, Ph.D., UNM
When opioids are used as therapeutic agents, they are significantly limited in providing pain management due to their detrimental side effects and addictive qualities. An alternative has been engineered in the form of an endogenous peptide fragment (scFc). The antibodies, generated using a cell-free ribosome display, offers inexpensive and rapid scFv antibody synthesis. Data indicates that a single dose of P2X4 scFv effectively returns the mechanical threshold pain measure to naïve baseline for many weeks in a nerve injury chronic pain animal model.
Cloud Hypervisor-forensics and incident response platforms (CHIRP) – Vince Urias, Sandia
This platform, ideal for cyber defense and security requirements and applications, introduces a novel Virtual Machine Introspection (VMI) based approach to enable analysts and defenders to collect evidence and incident response materials in real time, without disturbing the user environment or alerting an intruder. Using CHIRP, analysts can pinpoint suspicious activities, track and record attacker actions for forensic analysis and retrieve materials transparently from the targeted machines automatically and on demand.
Thermal/Fluid Inventions for Space and Terrestrial Applications – Jonathan Allison, AFRL
These thermal control systems (TSC) technologies include a fusible metal thermal hinge, frangible heat pipe, and microgravity sediment trap. In satellites and spacecraft design, these technologies work to maintain optimal temperature range for all components of a spacecraft during mission phases. This is essential for spacecrafts so that they can cope with the extreme thermal environments of space as well as heat generated within a spacecraft.
Microsystem-Based Aerosol Generator – Nathan Jackson, Ph.D., UNM
Electronic cigarettes and medicinal inhaled drug delivery systems have been produced to help combat the negative side effects associated with smoking traditional cigarettes. However, current technologies regarding vaporization methods can still have some potential health complications. This technology is designed as an alternative method of manufacturing a monolithic microfabricated vibrating mesh atomizer which could control droplet size and eliminate ultrafine particle formation.
Nanoscale-Enabled Microinductors – Eric Langlois, Sandia
Scaling of magnetic passive components such as inductors and transformers have not kept pace with advances in high power semiconductor devices employing wide/ultra-wide band gap SiC, GaN, and AlN in terms of size or performance. This novel inductor has significantly lower losses by using a nano-scale enabled magnetic material that is nonconducting, non-hysteretic, and has a high saturation magnetization.
Method and Apparatus for Killing Plants with Electric Current – Paul Neher, NMSU
This technology is an environmentally friendly method of killing plants by using an electric charge. This method is highly selective with no potential for any collateral damage to adjoining plants and can permanently kill plants through the root without the use of herbicides.
Hertz Bio: Drug Discovery and Toxicology – Kent Coombs, UC-LANL Postdoc Entrepreneur
Safety and efficacy are the most common points of failure regarding the ways in which novel drugs are assessed, mainly because animals are not good predictors of human biology. This technology, called Hertz Bio, is a benchtop miniature beating heart that can be used to predict the effects of drugs on the human heart and gives relevant human data without the need of clinical trial. This system offers a more humane application than animal testing and has the potential to revolutionize the drug development world.
Medical Audio Alarm Distributed Detection and Alert Systems – 1st Lt. Michael Albert, USAF
In medical environments, a variety of equipment is used to monitor medical functions. Each piece is able to produce several alarms, but it can be extremely inconvenient to locate, determine priority, and respond to any given alarm. This new innovation provides medical care facilities with an easy to install, customizable system that detects, triages and communicates alarms to a centralized location.
Threshold-Based Min-Sum Algorithm to Lower the Error Floors of Quantized Low-Density Parity-Check Decoders – David Mitchell, Ph.D., New Mexico State University
This method and apparatus can selectively attenuate or offset the messages in a Low-Density Parity-Check (LDPC) decoder based on a simple threshold comparison. This can outperform the original algorithm and its variants across all signal-to-noise ratios. LDPC codes are industry standards in satellite communication (broadcasting, interactive services, telephony), ethernet, wireless broadband (wifi, personal area networks, digital television, high-bandwidth data transport, and deep space communication.
Green Factor, Niju Narayanan, Los Alamos Pordoc Entrepreneur Fellow
Cell-free systems have emerged as the viable method to produce bio-based products for a sustainable future. This screening platform coupled with a biosensor can customize production processes in cell-free environments which can offer biomanufacturers higher titers and yields, better resource utilization and cost-effective bioprocess. This technology aims at better utilizing inexpensive cofactor analogues by enabling enzyme modifications to ensure that the bioprocesses are cost effective and economically viable.
More information on each of the technologies is available at: http://www.innovatenewmexico.com/technologies/.